Category Archives: success

5 ways to more focus

“He well knew his mind’s natural tendency to be endlessly on a thousand subjects at once, to flit from this to that and to the next thing to no particular purpose–indeed, he called it his “butterfly mind.”
― Eric Metaxas


What do you focus on? One of a thousand things running around in your mind all screaming for attention or something else?

More than ever before distractions are taking a toll on productivity, getting results that matter.   People are trying to keep all the things they want to do in their mind and their mind is the worst place to keep a list of things.   The mind wants to give attention to every item and in an effort not to forget it latches on to one thing for a brief period of time and then lets it go to grab on to something else.   It is trying to remember what you want to remember and cycling through that list and on occasion you’ll grab one of those items and start working on it only to let it go to grab onto something else.   It’s not a very good use of your time and it doesn’t allow you to finish what you started.

You might be able to hold onto a few things in your mind, perhaps seven items before things start careening out of control.   Be on time to the meeting, make a phone call, write the report, make sure you prepared for the meeting, fix the problem that suddenly came up and …, everything wants your attention.

To get the best results requires focus and limiting (setting boundaries) that work for you.  So, let’s look at 5 ways to increase focus and get better results.

1. Prepare and Plan

2. Prioritize

3. Stick to the schedule

4. Energize

5. Reflect

Prepare and Plan – At the beginning of the day sort out what really needs to be done.  Write them down.   If the list is really long then figure out what can be done today.   What are the top six things that need to be addressed?   Figure out how long each item will take to complete.  Be realistic, most people tend to be very optimistic on what they can accomplish.

Prioritize – Figure out what is most important to do.  Do the hardest thing when you have the most energy.  For some people the morning is their best time and for others it might be the afternoon.  Figure out when you will have the most energy and do the hardest work then.   Do the easy things when your willpower and drive is lower.

Stick to the schedule – you created the plan and now distractions are coming in from others and they want your attention and time.  In order to be highly productive focus on the results you need for today.  What can you say “No” to?  What can you defer?   How can you manage distractions so they don’t reduce your effectiveness?  Create the discipline to focus on what you need to do and set fixed boundaries around your time.   At the end of the day getting the right results matter.

Energize – take time to restore your energy.  90 minutes of full-out effort is about the maximum one can focus and concentrate on one thing for most people.   In that time the brain will consume a lot of energy and you’ll need to recharge.   To recharge get up and move – take in some deep breaths and do something to get the blood flowing.  Take a walk for 10 minutes, run up a flight of stairs, do something that will get your blood moving.    Then refuel with water and the right kinds of foods (nuts, fruits, vegetables).

Reflect – At the end of the day take a few minutes to evaluate what you accomplished.  Write down the things you did complete and check to see if those things were estimated well and if the task was easy or hard to complete.   Note the number of distractions and where they came from (customers, managers, co-workers, others).   What was draining your time?   What things were taking you away from being productive?  How many of those things kept you from getting the right results?   Use these lessons to plan better for the next day.

High achievers build into their lives the habits that generate the best results.  With practice you can become a high achiever.


achievement motivation

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”
― Paulo Coelho


What does achievement mean to you?   What does it mean to achieve something of value?

You decide to sleep in a little longer today than yesterday.  There is really nothing calling you to jump out of bed and make something happen.  It feels like there is no reason to be motivated and so a few more minutes pass by.  Thoughts gather and dissipate in your mind, there is nothing that is inspiring you to take action and you wait, wait for something that will be energizing.   Then in  a flash there is something that gets you moving, it is something you forgot to do and now there is movement.

The motivation to achieve is something some people do really well, they are just driven to make things happen.  For others this success mindset is much challenging to achieve on a regular basis.

Motivation to achieve is a force to do something you want and believe you are capable of doing.  The barriers to taking action are low compared to the feeling of accomplishment when you complete the task.   Things of low risk and high value are often easier to take on than things that have high value and high risk.  Imagine trying to do something with low value and moderate risk, that is something that is pretty hard to start.

Achievement motivation factors:

1. An important goal or objective you want to accomplish
2. The value produced is high
3. The risk is relatively low

If you find that you aren’t moving towards a goal you have identified as important it might be because:

1. Success is not a habit for you  (taking daily actions)
2. You don’t have the skills to make it happen.
3. The perceived cost/risk is too high
4. The goal isn’t important to you
5. There is no one holding you accountable

What is stopping you from taking action?   What are the benefits of doing something today?

What do you want to achieve?  What are you ready to commit to?

what successful people do

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
― Leonardo da Vinci



Which one are you?

circles not boxes

“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
Noam Chomsky


What does your organization chart look like?   Is it the typical set of boxes showing the relationship in a hierarchical fashion?   Most organizations are structured with a top down command and control organization.  Even though some of those organizations would profess empowered leadership models there is still the idea that someone is subordinate to another.  The subordinate relationship will  reduce the ability for everyone to contribute their absolute best.

The new leadership model will be a set of interlinked circles much like that of a Venn diagram.   This model doesn’t use subordinate relationship to accomplish work.   It uses a model of collaboration to bring out the best of each person.

What happens when there is greater collaboration between all roles in the organization?   Communication improves, it gets faster, it vibrates with ideas, and is more rich.  Gone is the worry of saying something and not having it matter.   Greater collaboration leads to greater wins for the organization and for everyone in the organization.

Moving away from the traditional structures will allow organizations to move more quickly, extract the best ideas, and increase total involvement.  That is in essence the idea of enabling people to contribute.   Empowerment with action is enablement and that is what it will take to for organizations and individuals to make a larger contribution.

The collaborative leadership model is based on relationships rather than authority (positional authority).   The model will enhance organizational performance and contribute to faster implementation of change with in the structure.   The challenge is breaking free from the ways of the past to embrace something new.   The same change authors have to embrace this model and create an impetus for a new way of doing business.  Those that do embrace a collaborative model will thrive and out perform those that don’t.

How do you create such a large change?   Start with small groups, build the model, test it and watch it work.     Think about ways you can create a more collaborative environment and then implement.

success is …

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
― Andy Rooney


What does success mean to you?

More money, more fame, or more things.    For many people success means more money, until they realize that there are those with more than they have and that creates uneasiness.  For others it means more fame, being at the top of the class until they realize someone is more famous.  Others desire more material things and while they have much there is someone who has more, and they chase, and chase and chase for more.   Success is often a comparison between what you have and what others have.  There tends to be an unquenchable thirst to do better than the other person, until you realize that someone else will have more of what you want.   Satisfaction never arrives,  and success is hidden.

Look at what success means to you.  When you are successful what will it look like?  Or, will success be a continual journey through life?   Do we reach this place known as success and stop or do we keep going.  Success is merely a series of pauses in which we recognize that we have reached certain objectives.

The opposite of success is failure, or at least is how we define it in the world today.  You get good grades in school or you don’t.  If you don’t then you’ve failed.   It seems that not meeting some standard of measure is not failure, it just means you need to spend more time learning the materials and understanding what was missed the first time around.   The rate of achievement may have not been equal to others, and that begins this sense that we have to compare our results with others around us.   If we don’t master something at the same rate as someone else we end up believing that we aren’t “good enough.”

What would happen if success or failure in terms of comparison were removed and were replaced with growth or change?   Success would be come a measure of growth in our personal lives.  To succeed would mean ability to grow and achieve your personal best.

What would be different in  your life if success was defined as using your growth potential each day to the best of your ability?   How do you think that would impact your education, work, relationships, friends, health and your spiritual identity?   Who would you be able to become?

More about success with Deepak Chopra,

Are SMART goals smart?

“Let today be the day you stop having conflict between your actions and your goals and finally align your greatest intent with your purposeful actions, creating a universal symphony serenading your success!”
― Steve Maraboli

Having a well defined set of SMART goals was at one time a great thing to do.    SMART goals are defined as “specific”, “measurable”, “attainable”, “realistic” and “time bound”.   It was a way to frame an objective and provide a way of making progress.   Now, some believe that SMART goals aren’t described in such a way that they would create a breakthrough outcome.   SMART goals are designed to be safe goals, goals that are realistic and attainable that have a measure of value and progress.   Is it time to break the rules?

Progress is made when we push the boundaries and go beyond what is expected.   SMART goals may push the envelope but they also keep us inside the box.   SMART goals are designed to minimize risk and increase the chance of success.   Minimizing risk means not taking the necessary and sufficient risk to create something new.    SMART goals may mean SAFE goals, and is that what you really want if  you are intending on making substantial change?   Of course not.

A recent report suggests that there are other factors that drive people to change or create change.    A list of eight factors:

1. Picturing the end result – ( a visual image of a result)

2. Learning new skills to accomplish the goal   (growth)

3. The goal is necessary  (urgency and importance)

4. Creating own goals    (ownership and empowerment)

5. Access to training to accomplish the goals   (resources)

6. Pushed outside of the box   (risk)

7. Benefits go beyond self    (significance)

8. Goals align with objectives  (purpose)

It seems that goals need to be purposeful, significant, involve risk, with access to resources, have personal ownership, create growth and are clear.   Of course those don’t ideas don’t spell out some easy to remember word.


Goals create change and that is often resisted in favor of comfort.

In organizations the idea of risk taking isn’t promoted.   If a risk that is taken doesn’t provide a positive result then it is assumed that the time, effort, and materials were lost.   Maybe that is why small companies take risks, many risks to hit on a great result.   Experimenting and getting an answer quickly may be more useful.

What would help you achieve great things?

“You can get anything in life that you want if you help enough other people get what they want.”             Zig Ziglar, speaker, author and salesman


How can you help others succeed?

When those you work with are more successful it boosts the results of the entire organization.    What do you do on a daily basis that helps those around you be more productive, more successful and more loved?

It doesn’t matter where you are in life or on what stage you are playing, you can help others achieve more.   It might be simple things, like doing something for someone else with no expectation of receiving anything in return.   Perhaps it is fetching someone a cup of coffee when they are focused on getting some work done and allowing them to get that work done.   Maybe it is doing a few more chores around the home so that one person isn’t doing all the work or maybe it is giving a loved one a few minutes of relaxation that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

There are many ways, perhaps hundreds of ways that you can help others be more successful.

Now, what makes this beneficial to you?   There is a well known rule of human behavior called reciprocity.   If you give to others they will feel an obligation to give back.  It is an unwritten rule of behavior, you give others want to give back. They don’t want to feel that there is an imbalance of giving and receiving and as a result you’ll see others step up their game when you help them improve theirs.

Will it work all of the time?   Maybe not,  some people may never sense an obligation to anyone else but themselves, so help them anyway.   Give them an extra dose of encouragement,  a helping hand even when they haven’t asked or a gift of a few minutes of time to relax.   Whatever you give to them will come back in one form or another to you.   It may not be today, but there will be a time when that gift you gave is returned to you in abundance.

Try it … give to others and help them in some way to have a better day.